Come with me into deepest, darkest Wiltshire…

Okay, so that’s being a bit dramatic, but this walk across the edges of Salisbury Plain did feel a bit off the beaten track. It’s a walk between two historic villages, a tale of two churches.

Come on a Wiltshire wander with me.

Codford & St Mary’s.

The walk begins in the village of Codford in the Wylye Valley in Wiltshire.

Today Codford is a quiet place. Rural, keeper of a pretty country church and thatch cottages. The sort of place that might inspire daydreams of long summer days, life on Home Farm and wafting about in 1940’s tea dress with a basket on one arm. Or is that just me?

Star of the show in Codford is St Mary’s church. It’s seen a lot, this old place. If walls could talk.

St Mary’s looks exactly like an English country church should. Lantern over the gate, smart blue clockface up on the tower, pretty little churchyard behind a traditional stone wall. Lovely.

Like something from a cosy Sunday night viewing T.V show. Something like The Father Brown Mysteries or Land Girls.

The lantern turned out to be a tribute to a former village resident,James Charles Fleming, a former sexton and chorister of the church. The plaque placed in his memory carries the quote, ‘ Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works’.

The gate, beauty that it is, doesn’t just welcome people in. It also makes a lovely frame for the thatch topped cottages opposite. That had me of daydreaming again, of villagers past walking up the lane in their Sunday best. Mingling at the church gate for greetings and gossip. There’d definitely be a clucking old matron, probably one who arranged church flowers, who knew all the things about all the people.

That’s just my imagination but St Mary’s has some very real and very poignant history. There is a second church yard, home to Commonwealth War Graves.

During WW1 Codford became a transit camp for thousands of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand. It now has the second largest ANZAC war graves cemetery in the UK. It’s meticulously tended and hosts a remembrance ceremony annually on the 25th April.

The Walking Bit

From St Mary’s, a bit of a walk. Out of the village, across a main and very busy road. Nothing like modern traffic to banish all a girls vintage rural day dreams. Modernity, pfft.

Thankfully the only part of the walk that involved main roads and traffic, the rest of it made up of country lanes and pretty views. Eventually leading to…

Sherrington with The Church of St Cosmas & St Damian.

Right, let’s stick the with the T.V show analogies, shall we?

If Codford was giving warm and fuzzy, St Cosmo & St Damian is more like the sort of place where an innocent dog walker would find a body in the opening scenes of Midsomar Murders. Or the church at the heart of a sinister medieval drama.

The whole place has a bit of a deliciously dark feel to it, further enhanced by a signage on the Church wall firmly warning , ‘ Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy’.

The interior of the little church, much more welcoming. Warm, rustic and beautifully cared for. Quite ornate in parts, with many a carving and adorned walls.

In truth, Sherrington and its long named church are both perfectly lovely. I’ve done a bit of research and there aren’t any dark stories here. Quite the opposite; the church is walker and cyclist welcoming, offering a peaceful place to rest. Dog friendly too.

But there is also a lot of history and that gets the imagination going, doesn’t it? Historians, don’t come at me. I know imaginings aren’t facts. I just like saying, ‘Imagine if…’ and making things up.

In the interest of balance, let’s have some facts. There’s been a simple church on the site since the 1200’s, and the 1300’s saw it dedicated to the Saints Cosmas and Damian. In 1624 there was a complete rebuild, re-using original 14 century features. Interior fittings and artwork have been dated from the 13th to 17th century and all of the above has earned this little place Grade I listed status.

From Sherrington it’s an easy walk, mostly riverside, back to the starting point in Codford.

I discovered this route via All Trails

If you liked this post, you might also like The Victorian Cemetery, Highclere.

Helen x

20 thoughts

  1. What a lovely walk and I enjoyed all your imaginings which conveyed the atmosphere of these two pretty villages in a way historical facts rarely do πŸ™‚

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Sarah, I’m definitely more dreamer that fact based πŸ˜†

  2. Oh, darn! I wanted to do the riverside bit πŸ˜•. But seriously, I liked your first village and was scouring my wardrobe for that tea πŸ‘—. I like places with fords, too. I wonder how many St. Mary’s there are in the UK? Carry on dreaming, Helen. It’s what summer days are for πŸ€—πŸ’™

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Jo, next time I’m riverside I’ll include it 😊

  3. What a delightful village church Helen, I always enjoy seeing ones like this with their arched entrance gates and lanterns. I definitely need to see more of Wiltshire than just Salisbury!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Wiltshire is definitely worth exploring Marion. Lots of pretty villages & country inns that I’m sure you’d enjoy.

  4. Who knew that there were Saints Cosmas and Damian? They sound most unlikely, don’t they? Two very pretty churches and i enjoyed your take on them.

  5. That was a lovely walk with such picturesque views. Love the gate view with the lantern and the beautiful cottage behind. Funny to think there is a St Damian!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you, it really is a lovely area. A bit under rated I think, but I suppose I’m a bit biased!

  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Kirsten, thanks for coming along!

  7. Such a pretty part of the world. So serene looking. Thanks for sharing!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment , I’m glad you enjoyed the post

  8. Looks like the kind of village I would love to wander around and photograph.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I’m sure you’d capture it beautifully! I hope you make it back to UK shores sometime.

  9. Lovely Helen. I’m with you in the tv references πŸ˜†

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Ah thanks Brenda, I love a bit of cosy vintage themed TV.

      1. Yep. I’m thinking of curling up in front of the TV for the evening

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